By Leroy Douresseaux
April 30, 2007 - 12:33
Mr. Charlie #115 can always find something to complain about, but he can’t help but love Darwyn Cooke… and The Spirit, too:
In The Spirit #3, The Spirit and Commissioner Dolan hear something that makes their blood run cold: Elvarro Mortez has apparently returned from the grave. Suddenly, The Spirit, Commissioner Dolan, Ellen Dolan, and Ebony White are each recalling that night when Denny Colt, a young investigator trying to make a name for himself, went after The Octagon, a terrorist cabal preparing to attack Central City. Colt met Mortez, and that meeting would lead to the birth of a legend.
Darwyn Cooke uses the return of a man supposedly dead as a vehicle to retell The Spirit’s origin. Cooke’s version of The Spirit is darker than the way we knew the character through the work of creator Will Eisner. While what would become known as Film-Noir and movies in general influenced Eisner’s work on the character, The Spirit of the 1940’s was a colorful pulp hero. Cooke has taken the noir-ish sensibilities of the original and made them literal. I don’t know if that’s necessarily a good thing, but Cooke is such a natural at telling stories through this medium (and his art is beautiful), he’ll get a pass. Just the Kirby-esque flourishes that abound throughout the book and on the cover are enough to make me forget any misgivings.
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